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Mixed marriages and their success formulae

Amanda Fristrom, 28, American married to a Finn

 

 

I would describe our family as: ‘globetrotting,’ ‘entrepreneurial,’ and ‘sleep-deprived’.

 

My children’s unending energy comes from both cultures. From having a Finnish breakfast to an American dinner, the children are balanced in the middle. One of the advantages of raising children in a multi-cultural family is the understanding that there are many ways to do and to think about something, and being able to literally think about things in two ways. This starts with us as the parents learning from each other and then it is passed on to the kids.

“I would agree that being raised in a multicultural family makes a child more tolerant, open-minded and accepting of other cultures. Besides helping to create a richer environment at home, the blend of cultures creates a more accepting and curious attitude for things outside the home.

We have been gradually taking pieces from both our cultures and adding new traditions of our own as we go to create our own family culture.

“There are double the holidays celebrated, traditions that need to merge, and cultural foods that I need to find ingredients for to make.

“We are also trying to figure out what curriculum our children will follow for their upcoming school. Our toddler understands both English and Finnish, but mainly speaks back in English, while our eight-month-old is cooing fluently in both languages.”

 

 

Jane Honl, Nigerian, 28, married to a German, with four children, Emil, Amber, Christopher, Katharina.

I would describe our family as: mosaic, dynamic, and interesting.

 

Raising children in a multicultural environment creates different scenarios that allow them to possess receptive minds towards any environment they find themselves in. I believe that tolerance is innate for children born in multicultural homes by default. Being raised in an interracial home also inculcates acceptance in children at a very young age, making them understand that there are different ways of living. It makes the children innovative and this can be observed in little things such as fabricating a dish by simply infusing both cultures in it or just incorporating one cultural dance move into another.

“Growing up in a multicultural environment also provides my children numerous wonderful opportunities to travel, and this has made them knowledgeable in geography to say the least. Having paid a visit to my home country and few other countries in Africa, they now do understand, first and foremost, that Africa is not one huge area of land where animals roam on the street with human beings but rather a continent made up of 54 beautiful countries which has urban and rural areas as well as thick forests where the animals belong like in the rest of the world.

As for cultures, as hard as it sounds, I notice that our children tend to lean more towards the German culture, and this can be easily understood; given that we usually spend all our holidays in Germany. So, when we are not here in Dubai, we are in Germany spending time with my in-laws and family friends. It was only this summer that we travelled to Nigeria to visit my family and show the kids my hometown.

Categorically speaking, our children can easily describe their European or African heritage, this was not taught directly to them but rather learned through day to day interactions with us.”

 

 

Eileen Lee-Connor, Korean-American, married to an American, with a 4-year-old son

I would describe our family as: Educated’ ‘flexible,’ and ‘sociable.’

 

“I think having access to two different cultures, maybe even languages, does enhance and boost creativity. The more languages, cultures and diverse experiences we can give our kids, the better prepared they will be for a future filled with AI with an emphasis on collaboration and emotional intelligence.

“I would say multicultural kids are more likely to view the world as more accessible and open. Here in Dubai, children are exposed to a variety of nationalities. By its nature, multicultural and biracial children can relate themselves to multiple ways of thinking and traditions so they see behaviour and custom as being important but not defining.They become critical thinkers much earlier in life to figure out who they are and what they stand for.

“Our son and his Dubai classmates don’t see anything unusual about this constant mix of cultures and ethnicities especially since he is so young and everyone he meets has a similar story that is unique to them. When it comes to languages, I feel they are a strong asset and would love for my son to be multi-lingual like all his cousins who speak Mandarin, Hungarian and Spanish.

“The obvious advantage is that multicultural children have unique and intimate access to the fabric of more than a single culture and this breathes life into the history and food they eat while visiting different countries or staying with relatives. To their cousins, they become a symbol of what the future might look like when we don’t think so narrowly about what defines a person. They become little default ambassadors of each side and afford an opportunity to build cultural bridges face to face.”

Source: Gulf News

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